Being a single parent is not just physically and emotionally draining, it is financially draining, as well. Maintaining a household with just one income can be quite difficult.
Even if the other parent is paying child support, it is still often not enough to cover all the monthly bills.
While it is true that single parents have unique financial concerns, it is not impossible to become financial stable.
The first thing you want to do is contact the Centrelink office and see if you qualify for any addition support from the government, such as Parenting Payment, Family Tax Benefit, Rent Assistance, Childcare Benefit, Childcare Rebate, the Single Income Family Supplement, and more. These payments can help by providing more income to meet your financial obligation. You should also seek Child Support, if you have not already done so, to make sure both parents are paying to support your children.
In addition to receiving all the benefits you deserve as a single parent, there are also several money-saving strategies you can use to save money and take control of you finances. Below are some of these great money-saving tips specifically for single parents.
Track Your Spending
As a single parent, it is essential that you create and maintain a household budget as a means of tracking your spending. This is one area where single parents may have an easier time, since you only need to keep track of one person’s spending habits.
Team Up with Other Single Parents
One great way that single parents can help each other is to work together. Find another single parent that you trust and agree to trade childcare services with each other. This will give you time to go out without taking the children, without the extra costs of a babysitter. You can also team up with other single parents to plan outings, such as a picnic in the park. It may make it more manageable to have these events with your kids if your split the costs with another parent.
Shop at Thrift Stores
You can really find some great deals on clothes, shoes and certain school supplies by shopping at your local thrift stores. These second-hands stores sell gently used items for just a fraction of the retail cost. It may allow you to afford some of the high-cost items your children want, but are not within your budget.
Always Shop with a List
As a single parent, you do not get often get the luxury of shopping at the store without taking your children along. This makes is extremely important that you always have a list with you when you shop. This will avoid impulse shopping and will teach your children about being fiscally responsible. You can even encourage them to help you find everything on your list and make the shopping experience more fun.
Use the Library Often
Public libraries are hidden treasures found in almost every community throughout the country.Unfortunately, they are often underutilized. Make plans to take your kids to the library on a regular basic, to check out free books, movies, and even music CDs to keep at your home for a few weeks. This can be a great source of free entertainment for the entire family.
Set Up an Emergency Fund
It is critical that every single parent family have an emergency fund set up to help them in the event of an emergency. Since there is only one income coming into the household, you will need these funds if you are ever injured or lose your job. Set up a separate savings account and start adding as much as you can each week, even small deposits will add up over time.
These tips will help you, as a single parent, learn how to manage your finances and look for ways to save on your everyday expenses. If you are need of cash or a loan, be sure to shop around and look for loans that are designed for single parents. It is also recommended that you seek the advice of a financial counsellor, many of which of provided free of charge. This counsellor can help you learn how to manage your money, set goals and plan for your future.
Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net